MIAMI (CBS4) – The newest way a group of people are surviving the economic downturn is really hot, hot, hot.
They are burning up not with anger over losing their jobs or getting a pay cut, instead, they are burning up with excitement over their newest money-maker – fire dancing.
The thrill of the burn creates a burst of adrenaline that takes people to the edge and doesn’t let them go.
“It’s the closest thing to feeling at one with god,” said one fire dancer as she practiced with a group of other dancers on Miami Beach.
Julian Campolo caught the fire bug.
“I was completely addicted,” said Campolo to CBS4’s Jorge Estevez during that same practice.
It began as a hobby for Campolo more than 13 years ago.
“I do it for the power,” said Campolo.
The inspiration began when Campolo saw someone else perform Poi – a form of movement using a ball and a cord. He then taught himself through the internet and five years later he graduated and began using fire. He then formed his entertainment company Fire by the Palm.
His gigs became a way to survive for him and his family when he lost his marketing job. The fire dancers all work together and not only practice but also perform with the help of several people who create momentum behind the burn movement with websites like Need to Burn.
“When the economy fell down we lost everything. Eventually fire dancing became the only thing I had that people paid money to have me do,” said Campolo who launched a new career that is not only turning heads, but also turning a profit – as much as a thousand dollars a performance.
“I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I really could,” said Campolo who recommends people start off practicing with ‘spin balls’ which are neon balls that light up at the end of a string.